For Tankenoff Family, philanthropy is approached strategically and done with passion
Scott and Hindy Tankenoff will receive Friends of the Family Award
at JFCS’ 30th Annual Benefit on Saturday, Dec. 1
For more than two decades, Scott and Hindy Tankenoff have volunteered for and financially supported several non-profits, including JFCS – but in the early days of their marriage, they often didn’t think too much about where and how their money was being used. It was about 15 years ago when the Tankenoffs decided to become more “deliberate” about how they donated.
In the case of JFCS, what that meant was focusing on programs that helped alleviate poverty and food insecurity, as well as programs that support children. Scott said the “a-ha” moment for him was when their family volunteered for JFCS’ Hag Sameach programs, delivering holiday gifts to individuals and families with need during the holidays. “The look on the recipients’ faces was powerful, as well as how the experience affected our kids,” he said.
Several years ago, when JFCS was looking to expand its work in food security, Scott and Hindy served on the committee that led to the agency’s partnership with PRISM Food Shelf. It wasn’t an easy process – the committee put in many hours deciding how JFCS could expand into this area and which organization it should partner with. But the effort was worth it – earlier this year, JFCS and PRISM moved into their brand new shared location in Golden Valley and the partnership is flourishing.
PRISM offers an immediate response to the basic needs of people in crisis, and JFCS provides additional wrap-around services that, together, can stabilize families, provide long-term solutions and help prevent future crises. The shared location allows both organizations to holistically support individuals and families in times of financial hardship. After all the groundwork, the Tankenoffs are thrilled to see JFCS and PRISM in the same building, and the continued partnership will now be more organic, Hindy said.
Scott said the partnership is just beginning – as it evolves, the two organizations will be able to help people in ways they wouldn’t be able to by themselves. “The JFCS-PRISM model is strong,” he said. “We’ve got seeds that are planted, but the best part is yet to come.”
Besides food security, another area of passion for Scott and Hindy is camp – making it accessible to all children with the help of JFCS’ Camp Scholarships program. “Camping is the best way to get kids interested in the community and Judaism,” Scott said. “Those are the future leaders of the community. That’s the best way to build future leadership.”
For their longtime support and commitment to JFCS, the Scott and Hindy Tankenoff will be presented with the Friends of the Family Award at JFCS’ 30th Annual Benefit on Saturday, Dec. 1. JFCS Chief Executive Officer Judy Halper said she’s had the opportunity to get to know three generations of the family – Scott and Hindy; their children, Danny, Samantha and Mollie; and Scott’s parents, Marsha and Gary, who are also strong supporters of JFCS.
“It is clear that this family has demonstrated from generation to generation the importance of identifying causes that are important, recognizing what can be done, and then measuring results to ensure that the investment has paid off,” Halper said. “I respect the approach they take to philanthropy, and I admire the tremendous results they have helped realize and the passion they continue to have for fairness and equity.”
Scott said that, ultimately, the family supports JFCS because the agency’s core objectives are the core objectives of any philanthropist. “The organization has not been static since I’ve been involved,” he said. “They’ve always found a way to support the right programming, and they’ve continued to remain relevant. JFCS is absolutely a necessity for our community for addressing the ever-changing needs of the community we live in.”